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Build Council-Owned Public Homes

The Greens would invest directly to build 4,000 Council-owned public homes at the Eagle Farm racecourse site over the medium term. The Greens have committed $40 million to acquire most of the Eagle Farm site as the first step in this plan. If necessary, we will compulsorily acquire the site. 


A Greens-led council would borrow to invest in well-designed, medium density, rent-capped public housing, owned by council and kept in public ownership as long-term assets. 

  • Half the homes would be public housing made available to people on the State Government’s social housing waiting list and rented for 25% of household income, 
  • The other half would be publicly owned affordable housing, available to any Brisbane resident, and rented out at 30% below-market rent. Compared to the median private market rent in Brisbane of $600 per week, this would mean a saving of $180 per week, or $9,360 per year per household. 


This would be a historic change for Brisbane. Council housing is not the norm across Australia, but it has been very successful elsewhere. Roughly 500,000 residents in Vienna currently live in council-owned or cooperative housing, and public housing has been a famous success. These projects are so successful partly because the Viennese council began providing low-rent, high-quality housing as a basic right, and partly because the council is able to coordinate local planning, transport, and other services to support new housing.

Brisbane City Council has no choice but to invest to build public homes directly. Private developers routinely hold back construction and supply of new homes, chasing higher profits from higher rents and house prices. This is why the sale of apartments in new towers and housing estates are staggered, rather than all released at the same time. 

The State and Federal governments are also failing to build enough public housing across the city, so a Greens-led Council would step up to build it ourselves. 


Starting at Eagle Farm

In the short-term, the Greens would begin this new build of public housing by compulsorily acquiring the Eagle Farm Racecourse site for an estimated cost of at least $40 million, based on the current zoning of the site and the State Government’s latest land valuations. 

The Greens have previously floated a concept plan for this 49-hectare site (high-res map here), which will eventually include 4,000 medium density council-owned public housing dwellings, alongside 25 hectares of parkland, sports fields and native forest, plus space for schools and other community facilities. 


Building new homes all over Brisbane

Council would purchase other sites around the city, including under-utilised or “land banked” sites currently sitting vacant. The Greens’ proposed vacancy levy would see land-banking property developers looking to sell vacant lots across the city at lower prices. On those sites, Council would build a similar mix of 50% conventional public housing and 50% publicly owned affordable housing. 

Over the course of 20 years, the rent collected from tenants in the 50% publicly-owned affordable homes would generate a return covering the cost of construction and maintenance.